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China looks to Tasmania for NRM expertise

The President of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) – China’s premier agricultural research organisation and one of the largest in the world –  has today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NRM South that will see the two organisations sharing expertise and technologies in sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.

Over the last two years, NRM South has been in discussions with CAAS on ways that they could collaborate on sustainable farming practices, better natural resource management, environmental improvement and increasing the production of safe and healthy food. The signing of the MOUs is a landmark event in Tasmania’s collaboration with the Academy and Chinese agriculture – connecting our small State with China’s leading organisation in agricultural technology.

In between a passing series of rain showers on Sunday, Professor Tang Huajun and his delegation of expert agricultural scientists visited Reid Fruit’s new cherry orchard in Jericho, the Greening Australia Tasmanian Island Ark revegetation site in Ross, and Houston’s Farm in Forcett. While it meant a little muddy footwear, the welcome and long overdue deluge was declared a positive omen for the launch of this new collaboration at the formal welcome gathering this morning.

Professor Tang Huajan, President of CAAS commented,

“[The trade between] China and Australia, especially Tasmania, is growing bigger and bigger…Our delegation [has] come to Tasmania to sign an agreement to try to upgrade – or guarantee – collaboration in a more systematic way, and to provide strong scientific support for this growing business…As a national research organisation, together with our counterparts here in Tasmania, we’re working together to provide scientific support, in order to have a sustainable trade business.

Australia has very good experience in terms of management of natural resources [and] sustainable development. I think you’ve done a lot of work and built up a lot of scientific models which can be…used in Chinese practices…Management of natural resources in a sustainable way is very important [in China] now. It’s a turning point – [we’re] paying more attention to environmental issues.”

[For the full audio of this conversation, head to the ABC’s Tasmanian Country Hour – 7:50 – 14:20]

NRM South CEO Donald Coventry noted the many benefits that would develop from this partnership,

“This is a great first step in formalising a partnership that has been several years in the making. We’re honoured to host Professor Tang and the entire CAAS delegation, and look forward to future collaborations. It will bring mutual benefits including potential agricultural trade and sustainability-focused intellectual property with a key trading partner. This partnership offers opportunities to build both substance and recognition of Tasmania as a leader in sustainable environmental and agricultural practice, to build links to premium markets in China and to assist in maintaining product differentiation into the future.”

Further to the MOUs, and thanks to a grant received by NRM South from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources under the Australia-China Agriculture Cooperation Agreement earlier this year, NRM South will be hosting a Australia-China Sustainable Agricultural Technology Forum in Hobart in May 2018. CAAS will be a co-host of this forum. Mr Coventry thanked the Australian and Tasmanian Governments for supporting this initiative.

For our official media release, click here.

To read the Premier of Tasmania’s media release, click here.

For more information on NRM South’s collaboration with CAAS and the 2018 forum, head to our CAAS webpage.

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